William Andrew Wishart was born on 28 February 1883 on Shipyard Road in the village of Dundonald near Irvine, Ayrshire. He was the fifth of six children born to James Wishart, an engine fitter from Greenock, and his wife, Margaret McLaren.
By 1891 the Wisharts had moved to Lancashire, and were enumerated in the census as living at 193 Bedford Road in Bootle. In 1901 while living with his family at 75 Balliol Road, William had found work as an apprentice in a general produce office.
In 1910 he married a local girl named Alice Irene Bridgewater and moved in with her parents at ‘The Moorings’, Coronation Drive in Crosby, Liverpool. At the time he was working as a booker for a shipping company.
William enlisted in Liverpool on 31 August 1914 and joined the 10th (Scottish) Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool Regiment.) At the time he was living on Blundell Road in Hightown near Crosby and on his attestation forms, he stated that he had previously served with the 2nd King’s Liverpool Regiment, which explains why he departed for the front within two months of joining up.
On 10 October 1914, the Liverpool Scottish arrived in Tunbridge Wells, where they billeted for the remainder of the month. William’s younger brother Robert had also joined the regiment, and both Wisharts sailed on board the SS Maidan from Southampton on 1 November. After some time moored in the bay outside Le Havre, the ship was finally cleared to enter the harbour on the 3rd and the battalion able to disembark. At the end of the month, William got his first taste of life in the trenches when the battalion took over the line east of Mont Kemmel in Flanders.
Within a month of arriving at the front the harsh winter conditions began to take their toll on William’s health, and by the start of December he had succumbed to frostbitten feet, which was followed by rheumatism in the legs, pains in the head, trembling, insomnia and culminating in a nervous breakdown. Much of this was later attributed to being overworked four years earlier and exacerbated by conditions on the Western Front.
William was transferred to a hospital ship on 3 December, and sent back to the UK to recuperate. After leaving the hospital he was transferred into the Army Reserve on 6 August 1915, and eventually discharged from service following a medical board on 11 April 1916, when he was diagnosed as suffering from neurasthenia.
For pension purposes, William was boarded several more times throughout the war and by the end of 1919 had made some improvement in his health. He returned to working as a clerk in a ship brokers office, eventually rising to assistant manager by the late 1930s, and in 1916 was living at 9 Esplanade in Waterloo near Liverpool.
William died in Liverpool in 1943; his wife outlived him by thirty-five years. No children were born of the marriage.